‘Pitch Perfect 3’ Is Slightly off Tune

Academy Award nominee Anna Kendrick leads the all-girl a cappella pack one last time as they perform their talents for one final round in “Pitch Perfect 3.” But the Trish Sie directed threequel, filled with renditions of Sia’s “Cheap Thrills” and Britney Spears’ “Toxic,” provides a European excursion flooded with franchise fatigue.  

The film catches up to the former World Champion Barden Bellas in their post-college struggles. A difficult time for most 20-somethings trying to figure it all out after the structure of institutional education comes to a close and the time to pay off the debt begins. All of the girls have struggled to find their footing, taking random jobs in odd places. Their lives appear unfulfilled, that is until Aubrey (Anna Camp) strikes an idea to get the Bellas back together again. She pulls some strings with her high ranking army-father and the Bella’s board for a good-will USO tour. Beca (Kendrick), a former record producer who gets canned following a splat with a rapper, along with Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson), Chloe (Brittany Snow), Cynthia (Esther Dean), and the rest of the girls unite their voices to get back into their groove.

For the Australian native, Wilson, “Pitch Perfect 3” marks the star’s first headlining role in over two years following her lengthy, victorious, and historic defamation battle with Australian tabloid powerhouse Bauer Media – which paid out a record $4.56 million for defaming Wilson’s character and causing her to lose out on work. But the slight hiatus for the funny lady is not noticeable for Wilson, who needed no time to rust off her innate skills. Her humor, character, and over the top persona that she brings to Fat Amy ensures much pleasure to the rest of the pitch cast.

For Sie, picking up the task of directing the final installment of the franchise was handed over by Elizabeth Banks, who helmed part two but passed the director torch for part three in favor of acting in “Power Rangers.” But Banks is ever present onscreen, alongside John Michael Higgins, as they hilariously comment on the current state of the Bellas.

Kendrick seems somewhat dulled by the antics, and although she partakes, she looks less than enthused. Out of all of the performers, she seems mostly outgrown of the pitchy amusement. But all turns amuck when the group is snatched by Amy’s estranged Aussie gangster father (John Lithgow) in tow of her large inheritance. From there, the franchise officially exits its small charming demeanor and enters into the realm of absurd action-comedy antics – complete with a seemingly forced and contractual cameo by the social media famed DJ Khaled.

Similarly to the male comedy dominated Hangover trilogy, by the time “Hangover III” came around, the gags were overplayed, unoriginal, and less naive in their tactics. Much of the same can be said here. All qualities that made the original “Pitch Perfect” in 2012 so fun, exciting, and charming are lost two sequels later and mostly replaced by a big budget explosions and globe trotting proportions. The final song of the “Pitch Perfect” franchise didn’t go out on the highest note. However, if anything, there was still slight enjoyment to be had and there will always be Fat Amy.

‘Pitch Perfect 3‘ opens Dec. 22 in theaters nationwide.